We dogs are pretty curious about everything.
Usually, we find amazing things that we can’t wait to show you, but sometimes our curiosity gets the better of us and we hurt ourselves.
We don’t really have a good understanding of infection control and first aid.
Left to our own devices we will lick our injuries to try and help them heal, but this can cause more problems.
Considering we don’t wear shoes either, an open paw wound can really quickly get dirt and other things inside it.
We need your help to look after it and keep it clean. If we hurt our paws, even a little, it is the best plan to wrap it to ensure it stays clean.
Otherwise, we might have to go to the dreaded vet, and we don’t want that. If it looks like we have hurt ourselves really badly, please take us to the vet. Desperate times call for desperate measures and all that.
What will you need?
We’re quite clumsy, so it’s a good idea to have a dedicated doggy first aid kit on hand to help us when we get into scrapes.
Your first aid kit must have gauze, medical tape or adhesive bandages, sterile pads, and some kind of antiseptic.
How do you wrap our paws?
The first thing that you will need to do is check for any blood on our paws. This will let you know how serious our injuries are.
You should then wash the paw gently with warm water. You can use baby soap if it’s really dirty, but harsh chemicals will hurt us!
I’ve heard vets telling my parents to take pictures of the injury before wrapping so that the progress can be monitored.
Once the dirt has been removed, check the wound to make sure there is no loose debris inside it. If there is, use a pair of tweezers and gently pull it out.
We don’t really like having our paws held, and we hate it even more when they’re hurt. Sorry if we’re making it difficult, we don’t understand that it’s for our own good until later. Just try to hold us still and talk to us in a calming voice, we’ll get through this.
Grab some antiseptic such as Betadine and wipe this over our injury. This will make it much less likely that our cut will get infected. For good measure, after this we should probably have some antiseptic cream wiped over the injury too.
Using some soft gauze, cover the injured area on the paw. If you have pressure bandages, place these over the soft gauze.
You should leave our toes out to ensure our circulation isn’t cut off. If you have put the bandage on correctly, you should be able to fit 2 of your human fingers underneath the bandage. If you can’t, it’s too tight and we will get hurt.
If you just have regular cotton bandages, you will need to wrap them tightly around our paws. Hold the gauze still and start wrapping the bandage.
Begin at the top of the paw where it meets the leg. Wrap around the entire paw, working down gradually and then back up. This will create a double layer of bandages which will help us to keep the injury clean.
Please don’t wrap the bandage around too many times, this can stop us from being able to move! You need to ensure that the bandage goes above our ankles, or it will just fall off as we walk.
Once you have done this layer, you should do a second layer of gauze bandaging. Keep the bandages taught but don’t wrap them too tightly. You should compress our paws a bit, but this shouldn’t cut off our circulation.
Finally, you should wrap both of these layers in an elastic gauze covering. These are usually sticky and will help us to keep the bandages in the right place. Again, please don’t pull this too tight because it will HURT!
The elastic covering should be tight enough that you can’t see any wrinkles. Once you’re happy with the application, you should run your fingers around the edges to seal it closed. We don’t really like these bandages because they’re sooooo hard to get off.
How can you help us keep the bandage on?
Everyone has seen the plastic collar from hell that the vets sometimes use on us. We are not the biggest fans, because they stop us from having fun and investigating our injuries!
I suppose we do look quite fashionable in them though, Elizabeth who? If we keep trying to rip off our bandages, I suppose you’re going to have to put one on. At least we’ll get a fun photoshoot out of it.
Another way to help the bandage stay on is to watch us when we’re playing outside. If you don’t keep an eye on us then we will probably run into wet and dirty places that will ruin the bandage.
Watch us and tell us where we can and can’t go, sometimes it’s nice to just follow instructions. Try to keep the bandage as dry as possible – so don’t let us play in puddles!
Some people make a gross special rub to put on the bandages. It is so yucky! I licked it off my bandage once and I’ll never make that mistake again.
I think it was a mixture of petroleum jelly, paprika, and cayenne powder. If this is on a bandage, trust me, it no longer looks appealing.
Our bandages and dressings should be changed every day to help keep the wound clean and prevent infection. This will also ensure the bandage doesn’t just fall off, and you can monitor how tight the dressings are.
Finally, please keep an eye on our injuries! We are not always the most obvious when we’re suffering and we need someone to look after us.
If it seems red, swollen, or is leaking anything, please take us to the vet!